Imperial Tobacco has returned to profit for the past half-year, with strong growth in the roll-your-own market driving sales in the past six months.
For the six months to March, Imperial made pre-tax profits of £974m, compared to a pre-tax loss of £184m the year before. Sales rose 8% to £13.4bn.
Pre-rolled volumes fell by 3.7% to 147 billion sticks while RYO tobacco sales were up 10% to 13,300 tonnes.
The news is a boost for Imperial after last week being slapped with a record £112.3m fine with for "unlawful practices" over price-setting.
“We are focused on maintaining this growth momentum and are encouraged by the upward trend of our most recent cigarette shares in a number of mature and emerging markets,” said UK chief executive Gareth Davis.
Yesterday the Lambert & Butler maker, along with rival JTI, launched a judicial review of the UK tobacco display ban that is due to come into force next year.
The Conservative Party has backed the legal challenge.
Tobacco giants launch display ban challenge (26 April 2010)
Indie trio in court to battle tobacco display ban (19 April 2010)
Tobacco giants and mults fined £225m in OFT pricing probe (16 April 2010)